Over the past few months a lot of things have changed in my life. I've moved to Boston and out of Rhode Island. I've changed jobs to one closer to my home in the city. And I've found myself in a strange place musically: returning to groove. Over the past two years I've been playing on and off in my own solo bass guitar project called 10 Volt Army. The goal of the project was to … [Read more...] about A Return to Groove: What I Learned About Groove and Technique After Two Years With My Solo Project
Ever try to write a song or a bass line and nothing is coming to you? Has that thought extended one layer deeper and you wonder why you’re playing right now? Did a frustration begin to mount that you can’t think of anything creative and the thought of a blank musical page or an empty DAW file staring at you is driving you crazy? So you put your bass down and walk out of your … [Read more...] about Feeling Uninspired Musically: 3 Ways To Get You Out of Your Playing Rut
This is a guest post from bassist and Smart Bass reader Jeff McWilliams I had a friend in high school who was a pretty good guitarist. Not a great lead, but a really solid rhythm guitarist who had a fairly large repertoire of songs that he could belt out pretty well. Good enough for me to grab a 12 pack and listen to music being made right up in my face. He had a … [Read more...] about Re-Learning Bass Guitar After a 25-Year Hiatus: It’s Not Like Riding a Bike
A common question among bassists starting off is the topic of practice. How much practice should someone do, what is 'good' and 'bad' practice, what should be focused on and what shouldn't be, what are good practice habits to get into and many other questions are ones that circle the bass guitar forums and message boards all the time. One question that's seldom asked is what … [Read more...] about Practicing Bass Guitar: What Is and Isn’t Practice
As bassists, it's our job to make a good bass line. A good bass line, broadly speaking of course, is one that can As musicians that play in bands (more often than not - solo bassists excluded!), we have a very important decision - or series of decisions - to make: what bass line do we play? It's a simple question but there are so many answers that can work. Like an open ended … [Read more...] about Creating Bass Lines: 3 Factors That Affect Bass Line Development
Every so often after playing a show, jamming with someone or in casual conversation it will come out that I’m left-handed. First there will be a raised eyebrow and a follow up: “You’re left- handed?” Then it will hit that I also play music and that I’m a bass player and the next question will be like “but you play bass right-handed, right?” Yes, yes I do. I’m a … [Read more...] about Thoughts on Being Left-Handed and Playing Right-Handed Bass
In part 1 of this two part column, we looked at exploring bass lines that were difficult to hear, difficult to make out and how you the bass player should interpret playing and approaching those lines. We also explored how much artistic creativity and freedom you have when making a 'new' bass line and what to keep in mind when you do so. In this second part, let's look at some … [Read more...] about Artistic Freedom With Bass Lines Pt. 2: Where You Don’t Have Creative Freedom (or As Much, Rather)
How do you play the bass line to 'Scarlet Begonias' by the Grateful Dead? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrIRE8Hzl7c It's an innocent enough question but one with many answers. All of which can be right. Songs like 'Scarlet Begonias' or many songs like the Grateful Dead, Phish, Umphrey's McGee and even many jazz acts can have many different ways to play through that song. … [Read more...] about Artistic Freedom With Bass Lines Pt. 1: How Freedom Much Do You Have?
A while back, I came across this fantastic video on Digg. The video stars Kevin Gisi, a programmer and developer with more than 20 years of computer programming experience and technical knowledge under his belt. The video tackles the question: how do I get started coding? It's a question that people looking to get more involved with coding, computers, app development, web … [Read more...] about Column: Why Do YOU Want to Learn Bass?
I finally learned to accept and understand the eighth note. It only took 10 years, but I finally get it. "What are you talking about, Mike?" I'm taking about playing simpler, more tasteful bass lines. Bass lines that are less flair and more function. Bass lines that have a special nuance about them rather than a need to impress with hundreds of notes a second. One Day While … [Read more...] about Column: What Makes a Good Bass Line?